The Greek government is looking for talented people to join their workforce, so you have a good chance of settling in well here as a foreigner. You might think Greece has a lot of economic burdens, but it has been stable for quite some years. You will settle in by the time the economy gets back on its feet, and your returns will be great.
So now is an excellent chance to take that leap of faith; if you were planning to move there or even if you live there already, you should start your own business. We will guide you on how to do so and all the necessary steps you will need to take for it.
Can Foreigners Start A Business In Greece?
If you are from the EU, you can easily set up a business in Greece. As for people from other parts of the world, as long as you register as a citizen of Greece and plan on operating here, you can get approval for setting up a business.
You will need a visa and work permit, which specifies that you plan on being self-employed in Greece, and from there on, you can go for it.
Self-Employed Vs Freelancing In Greece
When starting work here in Greece, you will need to figure out if you want to be a self-employed trader or freelancer. Both procedures and requirements are different, and it will be beneficial if you plan.
A freelancer provides services to you on a contract basis. They do not work for any company, just for themselves. Greece is one of the countries that offer a digital nomad visa which permits you to live in Greece while you freelance for anyone around the world. Teachers, designers, software developers, and many more professions have a lot of people working as freelancers. You can also look up the legally registered freelance professions so that you get a better understanding of how it works.
If you’re not a freelancer, you will fall under the trade business category even if you have an online shop or deal via online platforms. You will need to register with the trade office to get the legalities out of the way. This will get you a trade license, so you can start dealing with your customers now.
Requirements For A Visa For Self-Employed in Greece
To get Greek permanent residence, being self-employed is the easiest legal way. To become self-employed in Greece, you will need to show the following documents along with your application form:
- Your ID or passport
- Greek SIM card registered in your name
- Bank account and tax number
- Proof of sufficient monthly income
- Health insurance
Usually, the application and paperwork take a few weeks or months before you hear back from the responsible authorities. You must apply between three months and three weeks before moving to Greece. You might also have to present them with projected financials for the upcoming year. How you will bring growth to the industry and how they will benefit from you. Having a sufficient bank balance also helps you if you want to get a loan for the startup.
Types of businesses in Greece
There are a lot of different types of trade forms in Greece. We will look at all of these in detail to understand them better. These include:
A simple and all-time favorite option for all those starting a business on their own, a sole proprietorship is a go-to. Also known as a sole trader, this type of business has one owner who pays all taxes and keeps all profits. On the flip side, they will also have to bear all the losses, as in the first few months. If you don’t meet a particular mark in terms of profits in the first year, you can convert to a small business with much fewer legalities and more freedom.
A partnership is a business where two or more people agree to work together for mutual interest. They share all profits and losses equally unless specified otherwise. Here all partners are equally responsible for all the responsibilities. Some partners sometimes choose to invest while others work and are more involved in the business.
A corporation is a favorite amongst all the people of Greece. There are different types of it, one of the most common ones is a limited liability company. What is good about such a corporation is that your investments will stay safe here no matter what. There is also a mini-version of it which is also preferred as it requires less capital investment.
You can always get in touch with legal experts who will guide you regarding the best action plan. That will depend on your business startup and how much capital you have to invest in it. You can get a consultation and get started from there on.
How To Register A Business In Greece?
A few steps are required for you to take if you want to start your own business. Let’s take a look at these.
Register Your Business
When you first arrive in the country, you must register your address.
Get A Residence Permit For Self-Employment.
You will need to make an appointment with the foreign office where you will get your visa shifted to a residence permit. This will make you eligible to start a business.
Get your trade license.
Once you get your residence permit and are allowed to live here, you can register with the ministry of development and investments. This will get you a trade license, allowing you to start your business transactions.
There are different forms for each type of business you want to start, whether a public limited company or a private one. You might need help filling out the form as it would be in greek. You might need to mail this form to the nearest trade office that your locality comes under.
Some types of businesses have a special license that is required for them to start trade. These include professions like driving, insurance, skilled workers, and more.
Register With The Tax Authorities
The next step is a very tedious task that will take time. You will have to register your business with the tax authorities. They have a very detailed and extensive form for you to fill out.
Some companies now offer services that will make such long steps easier for you. They will fill up these forms and get you registered with the tax authorities themselves, and you will just have to give in your details to them. You will get your tax and VAT number after approval.
Open Your Business Bank Account.
Opening a separate bank account for a business is a wise choice as it helps keep your personal finances separate from the business ones. This will help you stay away from confusion and miscalculations of any sort. Many banks here do not offer business transactions via private accounts. And by having separate accounts, everything will stay much more organized.
Is It Challenging To Start A Business In Greece?
If you look at it from a technical point of view, starting a business does not have many steps. You have to get a resident permit, trade license, register with the tax authorities, and open a bank account, and you’re good to go. The crucial part is keeping the business alive and afloat.
The steps mentioned above will guide you on how to go about it. You might face a few problems because that is the case with the bureaucracy, but you will surely get through it.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Business In Greece?
Usually, to start a business, you might need around 40 euros to get started. This will include the registration fee; you can invest as much as you want. Your registration also depends on what part of the country you are registering your business in.
For a limited liability company, you will need money for the initial charges and 50% of the total equity upfront to start.
An Overview Of Business Tax In Greece
A sole trader has to pay taxes based on their business’s revenue. The general tax percentage increases according to an increase in income. It stands at 9% if you earn up to 10k euros and then increases with an increase in revenue.
Income Tax For The Self-Employed In Greece
The tax authorities will ask you to give an estimate of what your annual income will be, and your taxes will be determined according to that. It will depend on the nature of your business if you are to pre-pay the taxes monthly, quarterly, or annual. This might result in you over or underpaying your taxes. You must file a tax declaration to adjust the money accordingly.
Hiring a tax consultant will help make decisions and documentation easy for you and save you a lot of money.
Trade Tax For The Self-Employed In Greece
Unlike freelancers, all sole traders in the trading industry must pay a trade tax. After crossing a limit of 10 000 euros, you will be eligible for it. You will not need to pay tax on the first 10 000 euros you earn during the year.
How much trade tax you pay will depend on where your business is located, as rates vary from city to city.
VAT For The Self-Employed In Greece
You might need to register and get yourself a VAT number. To see if you are to charge this or not, you will have to take a look at your projected revenues in the first two years. This also depends on if you operate in Europe or not.
Starting a new company makes it relatively easier to predict your earnings for the first two years. The value-added tax has different rates according to what industry you operate in. 24% is the standard rate. It goes down to 13% for fresh food, children and elderly care, the disabled, and hotel accommodations. It goes further down to a super reduced tax at 6% for particular medicines and vaccines. These rates are for mainland cities. The ones further away have even lower rates.
Accounting For Small Business Owners In Greece
Managing finances is one of the least liked aspects of handling your business. One number is up or down, and the whole thing comes crashing down on you. It is essential to keep everything in order, and a separate bank account helps in these terms.
For the first ten years, you must keep all receipts, bank statements, and any incoming or outgoing monetary transaction records with you. These will be needed if you are audited randomly.
Insurance For Business Owners In Greece
Being a resident of Greece, you will need certain types of insurance. This is a requirement if you are to reside here. You might want to get professional liability insurance on top of the private ones you have already if you are running a business.
The guide has summed up all you need to know about the legal and bureaucratic side of setting up your business. You will need to look at many legalities, many of which can be completed by a third party that you can hire for their services. You can contact a marketing and consultation firm here in Greece to help you plan stuff out.
We have just written down the basics for you. You will need to contact a professional to help you with laws and regulations.